I love my daughter, and now I’m in love with my beautiful grandson. They are my daughter and grandson because I refuse to refer to them as “step” people. The only “steps” in our house are at the front door. But the fact of the matter is, there are times when a need for an explanation of our families situation exists, and the idea that I have admit to this “step” situation has always hurt me. That’s why I was elated to learn of the term “Para-Kin.” It just feels better. As a society we have been taught that step children were less than. Even Disney’s Cinderella has left a taste in our mouths of dysfunction within the step family. When healthy “para kin” families such as mine exists, we sometimes feel the need to explain that our situation is a good one because of the negative connotation of the four letter word, “step.”
It’s true that there are many challenges in blended families. When those challenges are met and families feel whole, it’s liberating to know that there is a better and more loving term to use in reference to our families. I can’t tell you enough how powerful this is to me personally! To think that this “para kin” could become the term to include, and not exclude, makes me feel not only good for myself, but my wish is that it will help the psyche of future blended families. Maybe children, moms, and dads won’t feel less than, but have a more honorable place in the hearts of each other.
There should always be respect for the fact that when we are not blood related, that the natural parents should be given their rightful due as being the birth mother or father. But, there should be equal respect for families who work hard to love each other in a blended situation that is healthy and productive.
I’d like to see people come to know this uplifting term as a norm. If Webster’s dictionary can add “emailee” (recipient of an email) or “textcasm” (sarcasm used in text messages), it would be my personal hope that “Para Kin” and the importance of it’s meaning would be added as well. Most importantly, people need to USE this positive term and remember that steps are for going up and down, not for describing family members.
From Heidi S. in RI